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MARGIN REQUIREMENT: The fraction of the purchase price of financial investments, like stocks and bonds, that the buyer must pay for in cash. The remaining part of the purchase price can thus be financed with credit.

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Lesson Contents
Unit 1: Instability
  • Overview
  • Business Cycles
  • Expansionary Good Times
  • Contractionary Bad Times
  • Unit 1 Summary
  • Unit 2: A Simple Cycle
  • Long-Run Trend
  • Contraction
  • Trough
  • Expansion
  • Peak
  • Unit 2 Summary
  • Unit 3: Measurement
  • Indicators
  • Leading
  • Coincident
  • Lagging
  • Unit 3 Summary
  • Unit 4: Causes
  • Complexity
  • Investment
  • The Process
  • Politics
  • The Process
  • Unit 4 Summary
  • Unit 5: Policies
  • Options
  • Expansionary
  • Contractionary
  • Unit 5 Summary
  • Course Home
    Business Cycles

    To purpose of this lesson is to examine the nature and causes of macroeconomic instability, which goes by the handy title business cycles. Business cycles are the recurring expansions and contractions of economic activity that generate the problems of unemployment and inflation. This lesson explores how business cycles can be stabilized with the goal of lessening unemployment and inflation.

    • The notion of business cycles is introduced in the first unit of this lesson, with an eye on what they are and why they are important to study.
    • The four components of a standard, simple business cycle -- expansion, peak, contraction, and trough -- are then presented and discussed in the second unit.
    • The third unit is devoted to several key measures of business cycle activity, especially leading, lagging, and coincident indicators.
    • A couple of the most often discussed causes of business-cycle instability -- investment and politics -- are discussed in the fourth unit.
    • The fifth unit closes out this lesson with an introduction to the expansionary and contractionary economic policies used to stabilize business cycles.

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    CONSUMER CONFIDENCE, AGGREGATE DEMAND DETERMINANT

    One of several specific aggregate demand determinants assumed constant when the aggregate demand curve is constructed, and which shifts the aggregate demand curve when it changes. An increase in consumer confidence causes an increase (rightward shift) of the aggregate demand curve. A decrease in consumer confidence causes a decrease (leftward shift) of the aggregate demand curve. Other notable aggregate demand determinants include interest rates, federal deficit, inflationary expectations, and the money supply.

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